At a ceremony held at the end of December, Alex Gilady and Israeli NOC President Igal Carmi presented the IOC’s Olympic Order to Zvi Varshaviak, the former NOC President, in recognition of his 16 years of activities and contribution to promoting Olympic sport in Israel. (See also under “NOCs”.)
Fidel Mendoza Carrasquilla has received the Colombian Olympic Order (Grand Collar), the highest distinction of the Colombian NOC, in recognition of his important contribution to the sports movement. NOC President Baltazar Medina presented the award at the Colombian sports gala. (See also under “NOCs”.)
international sportS FEdErations
The International Swimming Federation (FINA)’s athletes of the year 2013 were chosen in a vote by some 674 representatives of FINA national federations, FINA committees, media, partners and experts. Organised by the FINA Aquatics World Magazine, this vote saw 11 athletes elected from the six FINA disciplines. For this fourth edition, high diving was included in the vote, as this discipline featured for the first time on the programme of the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona (Spain). Info at www.fina.org.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced on 8 January that Jan Menneken has decided to step down as Executive Director, Commercial on 31 January 2014. Menneken joined the ITF in July 1997 to head up the Television Sales Department, and took over as Commercial Director in June 1999. Info at www.itftennis.com.
On 7 January, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) announced that its Lausanne office will in future serve as its official headquarters. From 1989, the year of the ITU’s creation, its headquarters were in Vancouver (Canada). An office in Madrid (Spain) was opened following the election of Marisol Casado as ITU President, and the Lausanne office followed in 2012. The offices in Vancouver and Madrid will remain open. Info at www.triathlon.org.
The International Surfing Association (ISA) has awarded its first ISA President’s trophy to young Peruvian surfer Gonzalo (“Gonzalito”) Torres Ramos, aged 9. Despite a disability, Gonzalo has become an extraordinary surfer and an inspiration to the whole local surfing community. Info at www.isasurf.org.
nationaL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
The acting Secretary General of the Bahraini NOC, Abdulrahman Askar, recently gave a lecture on the structure of the country’s sports organisations to PhD students of the College of Physical Education and Physiotherapy. The lecture was offered as part of the ongoing cooperation between the NOC and the University of Bahrain.
The Chinese NOC held its General Assembly on 25 December in Beijing. On this occasion, the 2013 IOC trophy “150 Years, Pierre de Coubertin, sport as a school of life” was awarded to the National Sports Training Centre of China for its contribution to promoting Olympism. The trophy was presented to the Centre’s Director, Xu Li, by NOC President Liu Peng. Many national media, such as the Xinhua News Agency, CCTV and China Sports Daily, covered this ceremony. Info at www.olympic.cn.
On 20 December, the second edition of the “Prix Altius” awards ceremony was held during the “Best of Us” Colombian sports gala, organised by the Colombian NOC. Athletes, young athletes, coaches, sports federations and judging bodies were recognised. The athlete of the year for 2013 who won the Prix Altius in gold was Caterine Ibargüen Mena, world triple jump champion, who took her title in Moscow (Russian Federation) last August (see photo above). See all the winners at www.coc.org.co. In addition, Paulo César Villar Nieto was elected as the athletes’ representative on the Colombian NOC Executive Committee for the period 2013-17, chosen by the athletes who participated in the 2013 Bolivarian Games. Aged 35, Villar Nieto competed in the 110m hurdles at the Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.
The British NOC recently announced the list of 35 Olympic athletes of the year 2013 in their 31 respective sports. The NOC worked in partnership with the national governing bodies to select the athletes deserving of recognition for their performance. This award was created in 2005, for the NOC’s 100th anniversary. Info at www.olympics.org.uk.
The Israeli NOC has awarded the 2013 IOC trophy “150 Years, Pierre de Coubertin, sport as a school of life” to Israeli President Shimon Peres, in recognition of his long-standing activities to promote peace, fraternity and coexistence through sport. The trophy was presented by NOC President Igal Carmi and Olympic and Paralympic athletes Mayan Davidovich, Jacob Tumarkin, Inbal Pizaro, Shahar Zuberi and Neta Rivkini. During his acceptance speech, President Peres recalled the value of sport as an educational tool.
In addition, a ceremony organised at the end of December rewarded the best Israeli athletes of the year. World judo champion Yarden Jerbi and European gymnastics champion Alex Shatilov took the titles. Info at www.olympic.one.co.il.
In Malaysia, the 2013 IOC trophy “150 Years, Pierre de Coubertin, sport as a school of life” has been awarded to Bryan Andrew Perera, President of The Royal Selangor Club. The trophy was presented by IOC member and Malaysian NOC (OMC) President Tunku Imran, at the 21st OCM Annual Dinner & Awards Night. The Royal Selangor Club, created in 1884, is a sports and social club that organises sports activities and competitions for its members and the public. Info at www.olympic.org.my.
The Swedish NOC has informed us that the Olympic collection that the Swedish team will wear at the Sochi Games has been unveiled. Designed in collaboration with the Olympic team members, the collection includes the Opening and Closing Ceremony uniforms, and a complete wardrobe for training and leisure in the Olympic Village. Info at www.sok.se.
The Venezuelan NOC informs us that, on 6 January, athletes, coaches, sports leaders, representatives of the authorities came together at the Cathedral of Barcelona in the State of Anzoátegui, to celebrate the 67th Sports Mass. This mass is organised across the country every 6 January to honour the results obtained and to bless the New Year.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
On 7 January, exactly one month before the start of Russia’s first ever Winter Games, the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee announced the opening of the Main Media Centre for these Games. The two-storey Media Centre, which is located close to the Olympic Park in Sochi, has a total area of over 158,000sqm and, along with the nearby media hotel, occupies an area of 20 hectares – seven times the size of Moscow’s Red Square. During the Games, the facility – which incorporates both the International Broadcasting Centre and the Main Press Centre – will welcome more than 2,000 representatives of the international and Russian media accredited to cover the Games, as well as over 6,000 TV and radio broadcasters from more than 70 countries around the world. Info at www.sochi2014.com.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has set up a new office called the Bureau of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Preparation, which was officially created on 1 January 2014. Info at https://tokyo2020.jp/en
Approved by the WADA Executive Committee on 11 September, the 2014 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods came into effect on 1 January 2014. You can read it at www.wada-ama.org.